Millennials: A lost generation between Gen X and Gen Z

Nearly four in ten Millennials feel their education has left them unprepared for the world of work, according to research.

Millennials – people born between 1980 and 1995 – are not just burdened with student debt and struggling to get on the property ladder, but are now under threat from an arguably more vocational and commercially-minded Generation Z.

According to a new survey by recruitment agency Randstad, nearly four in ten (38 per cent) Millennials feel their education has left them unprepared for the modern world of work. But just under a third (32 per cent) of respondents from Generation Z — the ‘digital natives’ born from 1996 onwards — feel the same way.

The survey also reveals that the very youngest professionals from Generation Z are displaying higher leadership ambitions, with 84 per cent saying they are shooting to be top dog in the workplace. This compares to 79 per cent of Millennials.

In addition, Gen Z employees are likely to switch employers more regularly than their Millennial counterparts, a third (33 per cent) of Gen Z respondents say they are likely to stay less than two years at their current company compared to just over a quarter 26 per cent of Millennials.

In some cases, this will be a result of Gen Z employees simply being younger and more flighty — but it may also reflect more drive among the very youngest employees.

For example, as for how respondents measure success, the indicator most popular with Generation Z respondents was a promotion (23 per cent). By contrast, the best indicator of success in the workplace for Millennials (22 per cent) was respect and acknowledgement from their colleagues.

Mark Bull, UK CEO of global recruitment consultancy, Randstad, comments, ‘Millennials appear to be stuck between a more financially fortunate Generation X, who didn’t need to pay university fees and were able to get onto the property ladder before prices soared, and the digital natives of Generation Z who arguably have a much more vocational and ‘e-commercial’ mindset.

‘As the curriculum has evolved to include lessons on coding and younger people generally understand the commercial potential of the internet, people today are leaving school, college or university with a much clearer idea of who they want to be and what they want to achieve.’

Bull concludes, ‘A fair percentage of Millennials, on the other hand, have racked-up thousands in student debt earning academic degrees that are arguably less relevant to the modern workplace. Without the financial advantages of Gen X and perhaps lacking the digital nous of Gen Z, it’s no surprise people are calling Millennials the lost generation.

‘Now this clearly won’t apply to all but with Gen Z applicants snapping at their heels, more than ever it’s vital Millennials make future employers aware of their skills and commercial drive, which many will have in abundance.’

Further reading on millennial generation

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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